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Saturday, April 23, 2005

The first Saudi waitresses 

The Emirates Economist flags this story about the first Saudi waitresses.
Three Saudi women — Ameera, Awatef and Amna — have valiantly withstood social stigmas and defied Saudi traditions to become waitresses in a five-star hotel in Jeddah. They are the first Saudi waitresses.

All three were students at Abdul Lateef Jameel (ALJ) Fund for Training and Development majoring in accommodation preparation. ALJ has assisted younger generations to achieve independence and self-sustainability through job creation....

Ameera has only completed intermediate school but took several English and computer courses....

"My father passed away when I was very young. My older brother raised me and has been a father to me since. He and my mom were very supportive and trusted that I would stick to my Islamic values no matter where I worked. This job is not considered a disgrace. A disgrace is when a family is poor and in need and the girl is a burden to her family."

Indeed.

Is Ameera the Saudi Rosa Parks, or something much more prosaic? Is this yet another hint of modernization of the Arabian society and economy, or a meaningless aberration?

5 Comments:

By Blogger Wave Maker, at Sun Apr 24, 09:40:00 AM:

Maybe they can't find enough foreigners to staff? The reverse of us (at least here in Boston) having to rely on Irish kids on work visas because there aren't enough American kids wo want the work.

(thanks for visiting and commenting on Reggie)  

By Blogger John B. Chilton, at Tue Apr 26, 11:15:00 AM:

TigerHawk,

Thanks for the link.

Wave maker, they've got foreign waitresses up to their hoohoo.

Hotels in the UAE wonder what would it be like if they were forced to hire Emiratis (say 15% in proportion to the total population). Except in the one dry emirate hotels serve alcohol. Lots. But nationals would not have to serve alcohol. And would nationals make beds? Even if you began to met your quota of nationals by making them managers and front desk folk, the vast bulk of your employment is maids. Yet just about every national family has its own live maid or two from the Far East. In short, Emiratization of some sectors is off the table.  

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